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Comments on John 3:16-18

From John: The book about Life, by Matthew R. Freije

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLEģ, © Copyright The Lockman Foundation 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995. Used by permission.

Comments on verse 16 | 17 | 18


A look at key words in this verse helps to understand it:

world: Refers not to the earth, but each individual. The verse may be best understood by replacing world with your name.

gave: God sacrificed Jesus as full payment for our sin. He gave Jesus so that we could have life.

Son: God the Son, part of the triune God. If Jesus were less than God, He would not have been a sufficient sacrifice for our sin.

believes: The Greek root of believe in this verse is pisteuo. As explained in the comments on 1:12, pisteuo belief amounts to more than intellectual acknowledgement of a fact. It is belief that involves a willingness to commit to, trust in, or follow someone. Belief is not a feeling; it is a decision (see comments on 1:12). To entrust yourself to Christ, simply tell God, in prayer, that you choose to place your faith in Jesus Christ to receive forgiveness and life. Tell God that you want Him to be in charge of your life from this point forward. Say it out loud. Here's a sample prayer:

God, I want to be forgiven for my sin. I want to know You. I place my faith in Jesus Christ to receive forgiveness of sin and new life. I want Jesus to come into my life and make me new. I want You to control my life from this point forward. Thank you for forgiving me. Thank you for giving me Christ. I want Jesus Christ to be my Savior, my Lord, my King, and my Life. Please fill me with the Holy Spirit. Please open my eyes to understand my new life in Christ. Amen

Simply reciting a prayer does nothing. You must mean it. You must genuinely turn your will over to Jesus Christ. If you prayed the above prayer (or something similar) with a sincere heart, then Christ has come into your life. You may not feel different immediately, but you are different. Start reading the Bible so that you can understand your new life.

perish: Every person is born spiritually dead. Christ provides life. As Jesus told Nicodemus a few sentences earlier in 3:3-7, we must be born again--born of the Spirit through faith in Jesus Christ. Otherwise we perish, remaining spiritually dead while on earth and entering Hell for eternity after our physical death:

Mat 25:46 "These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."

2 Th 1:8,9 dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,

Mat 7:13,14 "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 "For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

eternal life: Eternal life is literally Christ Himself:

1 John 1:1,2 What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life-- 2 and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us--

1 John 5:11-13 And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. 13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.

1 John 5:20 And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.

Christ is the One who provides the eternal life--His life. Having the gift of eternal life means that we are indwelt by Christ; the spiritual death we've had since birth is immediately replaced by spiritual life--His life. With the gift of Christís eternal life, we live for eternity in heaven instead of hell after our physical death. However, to have eternal life means more than to live forever--the emphasis is on the newness and quality of life rather than the duration.

1 John 3:15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

John 6:47,48 "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. 48 "I am the bread of life.

John 8:12 Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, "I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life."

John 10:27,28 "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.

John 11:25,26 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?"

Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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Jesus did not have the role of judge while He was on earth. His mission in coming to the earth was not to judge, but to bring salvation:

Luke 9:56 for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them."

John 12:47,48 "If anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. 48 "He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day.

Luke 19:10 "For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost."

1 John 4:14 We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.

However, Christ will judge all people on judgment day.

Acts 10:42 "And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead.

John 5:22-24 "For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, 23 so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.

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He who believes in Him is not judged. Those who have trusted Christ will not be judged with respect to their eternal destiny (heaven or hell). Though guilty of imperfect thoughts, words, and actions, they will receive mercy and forgiveness instead of judgment, and enter heaven instead of hell (see comments on judgment and mercy):

John 5:24 "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

He who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. Jesus is the basis for the judgment. All people are born spiritually dead and remain that way unless they place their trust in Christ. Also, all people have sinned and fallen short of Godís standards. Thus all people are under judgment until they submit their lives to Christ. Without Christ every person is in debt to God because of sin. But when one comes to the Light--places his trust in Christ--the debt is paid and removed forever:

Col 2:13,14 When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, 14 having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

1 John 5:11,12 And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.

Believing in the name of the only begotten Son of God means to trust in His authority and power.

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